Playhouse Design Group
By far, hands down, the most creative client DSMM has ever had. A mix of building designers, contractors, interior designers and creative thinkers under one roof.
It was no accident that we met. Just as Playhouse was getting off the ground in building design and construction, and right before a recession that seemed to launch the modern housing trend in Seattle, we clicked.
So, where to start with these guys . . .
Playhouse had a logo, and a good one. Other than 3 people and a small office, that was it.
Below is the first website DSMM created for Playhouse. It was sleek and elegant and lightweight. There was still an air of fitting in, I think, in the atmosphere of the industry at the time.
Worth noting is the process it took to make the above ABOUT page happen. On the site, mousing over a person caused that individual to change position, as you can see between the two to the left.
First, these aren't single images of 4 people. Each person was shot numerous times, up to 20 frames each, to allow them to choose two images of themselves they liked. Then, each panoramic image of all 4 people was built so that all 8 backgrounds aligned and appeared to have been taken in a single frame.
As Playhouse started to grow and gain momentum, things got edgier. Below are a splash page for the site, and new business cards.
Upon moving into a new office space, Playhouse wanted to do something unique with the ample wall space. DSMM designed an installation measuring 7x30 feet, a mosaic using a cellphone picture of the Mona Lisa and the room she is in at the Louvre, with images of projects over that. Creative Director Anthony Godoy had added some placeholder text as an idea. When Playhouse read it, they said, "Keep it as it is!"
Below the thumbnail of the installation are the text blocks pulled from the mosaic, in order from left to right.
The first text segment.
The first text segment.
There were many small companies that popped up to support the environment that was Playhouse, and DSMM branded so many we've lost track. Below are a few we created in those busy days.
A Playhouse exec had seen some Russian propaganda art, and liked it enough to request that the style be integrated into the next campaign. We kicked the idea around for some time, even getting into it. In the rough comps below, you can see we added Russian words unique to each staff member, "Commrade" or "Worker" or "Soldier." One had "Revolutionary." Each card had different medal-like symbols highlighting each staffer's ranking within the company.
It was fun, different, quirky. It was interesting. With all the cards rounded out with unique characteristics for each staffer, the cards were about to go to print when DSMM got word that something was up.
"We have a problem," a staffer said to me. "Someone doesn't like the whole communism thing." Sure enough, an Eastern European in the ranks was taking offense. No sweat, we'll make her a different card, problem solved.
Nope. It took all of an hour for that little spark to ignite the entire office into a near walk out over it.